Voters in the City of Charlotte, and Carmel and Eaton township approved Tuesday, Aug. 2 a 10-year millage renewal and increase for the Charlotte Community Library by more than a 2-to-1 margin. The millage proposal received 1,985 “yes” votes, compared to 909 “no” votes.
With the approved increase, the library will receive 1.4 mils per year for operating expenses, up from .9 mils it has received for nearly 20 years.
“The staff, the library board and myself are all really happy,” said Jim Oliver, Charlotte Community Library Director. “This gives us a great start toward helping people a lot more than we have in the past.”
The increase will generate an additional $209,000 in revenue annually, which means the library will no longer have to operate in a deficit. This fiscal year alone, expenditures exceeded revenues by more than $80,000.
“I’m going to be perhaps working harder, but in a different way,” Oliver said. “We have to develop plans as to how we can help a lot more people than we have, while continuing to be the best stewards of the community’s money.”
The millage accounts for 70 percent of the library’s annual budget. State aid and penal fines are the other two sources of revenue for the library. All three sources have steadily declined in the last six years, making the millage increase necessary at this time, Oliver said.
“It’s nice to note that the percentage of people voting positively for the library has increased each time we’ve had a millage,” Oliver said. “I think that shows how much the community really values its library.”
Oliver said he looks forward to what will be a fun job in planning for improved services at the library. All decisions regarding the library’s budget, though are made by the Charlotte Community Library board of directors. Oliver said the meetings, which are held the third Thursday of each month, are open to the public. The next meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Spartan Room at the library.